Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Profiles In Love

I read somewhere that dogs recognize profiles. The idea behind the study was that if you ever wondered why dogs respond in predictable ways to other dogs with pricked ears or a certain sweep of the tail, slope of a back, or bulk, it’s because they recognize those general dog silhouettes. That’s how they seem to recognize their own breed. And that’s how they recognize each other – though they’re as likely to take such recognition cues from smell as they are from sight.
My dogs have always seemed to prove the rule. My Malamutes have always seemed to recognize the outlines of dogs that appear similar to the dogs they already know. Breeze seems inclined to think, for instance, upon meeting Deacon (the Lab) that Deacon is okay because he appears much as his friend, Jewel – a very similar looking leggy Lab.

And that’s also why my Malamutes have always seemed particularly alert when they come across other Northern breed dogs – Huskies, Samoyeds, and other Malamutes. When Breeze sees pricked up ears and a tail curled over the back, he immediately seems to suspect “family”. 

And so it was the other day as Dar was walking Breeze in a neighborhood they don’t usually walk, Dar’s attention was caught by some movement off to her left. In the back yard of a nearby house was a Malamute. And not just any Malamute either, but a Malamute with a profile so similar to our dear, departed Ariel’s profile that Dar's breath caught and she stood there frozen. Her heart raced for the split second it took before her brain could remind her heart that there was no hope. It couldn’t (of course) be her beloved Ariel.

And then she looked down beside her. There stood Breeze. Frozen in his tracks. Full recognition in his eyes. And hope. His heart wasn’t getting the message of reason. Such a hopeful optimist, bless him.

They walked on. 

Breeze looked back.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Things Aren't Always What They Seem

See that pie plate over there on the wheel? Yeah, I know. It doesn't look much like a pie plate.

I was throwing jars early this morning with the clay I'd brought back to life with water and my pug mill. It was really lifeless and sloppy while working on the jars. So I figured I'd make pie plates -- where soft and sloppy would actually be to my advantage.

Funny thing, though. This third or fourth time through the pug mill and the magic happened. As I was centering the first pie plate it dawned on me that the clay had come to life. So I made a taller pie plate with a spout and, you know, a place for a handle in back. So you can pour your pie. Or beer.



What would happen if potters
Started making guitar player faces?
What if we broke into grimaces
Even though we’re just turning vases?

What if, while wedging four-pounders
We sneered for all that we’re worth
Or mimicked an expression of abject pain
Like a woman enduring child birth?

Oh! Better yet! What if we envisioned
Adoring fans holding out candles
And adopted naughty, lascivious grins
While languidly pulling our handles?

Would our pots reflect our hip attitude
If we looked like we couldn’t care less?
It seems to work for guitar players
Could this be the key to success?

Saturday, May 21, 2016


Just over in the corner to the right
If you look real close with a flashlight
And a pile of old clay boxes rests upended
Well, I found just what I need, sayin’
A thousand pounds of stoneware clay an’
Just like that, yeah, I was in business
I was in business

Oh, oh, what a mess
So rock hard, I should have guessed
As box after heavy box I lugged it. Still
I’m watering it down
Pound after pound after too hard pound
Just thanking the Lord for my pugmill
For my pugmill

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Home Sweet, Sweet Home

My pots are getting to go places I wish I could go.  I had to post this one because the photo is just so darn winsome.  A perfect home for my new mugs.  Meet Paul.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Baumonet Mugs

 If you asked me what was my earliest childhood memory, there might be two events vying for first. One would be the birth of my baby brother, Jim. The second would be a visit to my Uncle Irving's home in Upstate New York.

It's not that I remember my Uncle Irving. I really don't. I was probably 4 years old at the time of the visit. And Irving was actually my Dad's uncle -- an old man by then, being the oldest of 3 brothers (Walter -- an WWI invalid, and my grandfather, Elmer, being the other two).

But I have distinct memories of Irving's New York house. More precisely, I remember his basement painting studio. Open rail stair case leading down. Dark to the right. Lighted to the left with easel, workbench, and paints. The smell of linseed oil and turpentine. Oh, the smells. Canvases leaning low against the walls or laying flat on tables. A dirty, clouded glass door at the end of the small room leading out to an unkempt meadow. From the cool of the basement, I could see dragonflies buzzing about on that hot summer day.

I don't know what Irving did for a living. Whatever it was, it never stopped him from painting. He was prolific. Many of his paintings still warm the walls of Bauman family homes. The harbor scene -- dated 1911 -- is on my living room wall.

The romantic me -- which is, admittedly, a too big part of me -- has always been fascinated with painting. Fortunately, pottery took me away from it. But I've dabbled around the edges of expression with a brush and color. And that's what my newest explorations have allowed me. Painted mugs.